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J-2 Dependent Employment

J-2 dependents may request work authorization during their stay directly from USCIS using Form I-765. The J-2 dependent must demonstrate that the income received from their employment is not necessary to meet the expenses of the J-1 principal and any J-2 dependents. (A sample expense/support letter may be found here.)

Form I-765 instructions advise which category number to use in Question #16 for J-2 dependents (Page 3 on Instructions issued 8/15/2012).

The application should include the following support documentation:

  • Copies of all DS-2019 forms issued to the J-1 dependent AND J-2 applicant

  • Copies of all previously issued EAD cards and receipt/approval notices (if applicable)

  • Copy of J-2 applicant's passport ID page

  • Copy of  J-1 principal and J-2 applicant's current I-94 (front and back)

  • Copy of J-2 applicant's U.S. J-1 entry visa (if applicable)

  • Support letter (example above)

  • Check made out to "Department of Homeland Security" for the required fee (Find in instructions on Page 7-fees can change at any time, always check this!!)

  • Two U.S. passport style photographs of J-2 applicant taken in the last 30 days

    • Name, DOB and SSN (if applicable) of J-2 applicant should be written on back of the photos

If approved, USCIS will issue the J-2 dependent an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766). The cards are usually valid for a one year period or the time remaining on the most current DS-2019, if a shorter period remains.

A J-2 dependent may begin working on the start date listed on their EAD card, and continue working through the end date on the card. To continue employment past the end date on the current EAD card, an additional application requesting renewal of work authorization may be filed (with appropriate fee) in advance of the current card's expiration (at least 90 days is recommended).

A J-2 dependent may continue working only if they have received their renewal EAD card! Working on any day that is not covered by the date ranges on either the initial or renewal EAD card(s) is a violation of J-2 status. Pay close attention to the dates on the EAD card(s)!

A receipt notice showing an application for renewal of the EAD card is NOT sufficient to permit a J-2 dependent to continue working past the expiration on their current EAD card. There is no grace period or special allowance for J-2 dependents who have not received a renewal EAD card prior to the expiration of their current card to continue working.

To ensure there are no gaps in work authorizations for J-2 dependents, it is advised that the J-1 principal (and their sponsoring department) request extension of DS-2019 forms at least 120 days in advance of the expiration of the current form. This will permit the J-2 dependent to timely file a request for renewal of work authorization at the 90 day mark.